Bram Goldsmith, Former CEO of City National Bank, Dies at 93

Bram Goldsmith Dead
Courtesy of City National Bank

Bram Goldsmith, who served the financial needs of the entertainment industry when he was CEO of City National Bank, died on Feb. 28, the corporation confirmed in a statement.  He was 93.

He was chairman and CEO from 1975-1995. During his two-decade tenure, Goldsmith grew City National’s assets five-fold and navigated the company through two recessions. He contributed to the growth of the bank’s entertainment division, participating in some of its earliest film finance endeavors. Among the films City National financed were “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Purple Rain.”

The bank’s clientele has included Frank Sinatra, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Cher and celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.

Following a stint in the U.S. Army during WWII, Goldsmith moved from his native Chicago to Los Angeles in 1953 and founded City National with a group of local businessmen.  The bank, they decided, would specialize in the financial endeavors of entrepreneurs as well as professionals within the real estate and entertainment industries.

In total, he served as one of the company’s directors for 50 years, chairman of the City National Corporation for over 40 years and an active member of the company’s strategy and planning committee until his death, having just attended a meeting last month.

As a community leader and chairman of the Wallis Annenberg Cultural Center Foundation, Goldsmith also led the effort to convert the Beverly Hills Post Office into the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. He served leadership roles in other charitable organizations including the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles and Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.

“My father was a remarkable man, truly one of a kind,” Goldsmith’s son Russell Goldsmith, who is City National’s current chairman and CEO, said in a statement.  “He accomplished an enormous amount during his long and rewarding life. Among other things, he established the high standards, reputation, values and value proposition that continue to define City National today.”

Goldsmith is survived by his wife, Elaine; his two sons Russell and Bruce; and five grandchildren.

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